Cal Poly

Alex Spanos, Cal Poly alum and Chargers owner, dies at 95

A look at the long life of billionaire real estate developer and philanthropist Alex G. Spanos

The Los Angeles Chargers announced owner Alex Spanos died Tuesday morning at age 95. The Stockton-born real estate developer and billionaire donated to sports and non-sports related developments throughout California.
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The Los Angeles Chargers announced owner Alex Spanos died Tuesday morning at age 95. The Stockton-born real estate developer and billionaire donated to sports and non-sports related developments throughout California.

Cal Poly alum and university benefactor Alex Spanos, who owned the Los Angeles Chargers, has died, his family said in a statement on the Chargers website Tuesday morning. He was 95 years old.

Spanos, who was born to Greek immigrants in 1923, was an aerospace engineering major at Cal Poly in 1941 and 1942, but left to enlist in the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1945, according to a biography on Cal Poly’s website and the family’s statement.

The university’s football stadium was named after him in 2006, following Spanos’ $8 million donation to renovate the stadium in 2004, which is “one of the most significant gifts in the history of Cal Poly Athletics,” the university said in a statement.

Spanos and his late wife, Faye, also gave the university $1.5 million in 2003 to help fund the renovation of the Cal Poly Theatre, which is now named after him and Faye, the university said.

Spanos was awarded an honorary doctorate from Cal Poly in 2004, when he spoke at the university’s commencement. He was named an honored alumnus in 1974, according to a statement from the university.

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FILE - In this July 14, 1997, file photo, San Diego Chargers owner Alex Spanos poses in front of the Spanos Park development in Stockton, Calif. Alex Spanos, who used his fortune from construction and real estate to buy the Chargers in 1984, died Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018. He was 95. BEN MARGOT AP

“Cal Poly is thankful for its decades-long relationship with Alex and Faye,” the university said in the statement. “Our thoughts are with their children — Dea, Dean, Michael and Alexis — and the rest of the Spanos family at this time.”

Spanos purchased the San Diego Chargers in 1984, according to the family’s statement.

“Aside from being a celebrated businessman and generous philanthropist, Alex’s greatest joy and source of pride was his family,” the statement said. “His beloved wife Faye, his four children, his 15 grandchildren and his 12 great-grandchildren always came first.”

“Spanos was preceded in death by his wife of nearly 70 years, who died in August at age 92,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

“It was Faye’s unconditional love and support that gave him the strength and peace of mind to take risks and pursue his goals unfettered,” the family’s statement said. “Together they contributed generously to worthy causes and charities.”

The Chargers moved to Los Angeles before the 2017 season, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“We have no words that can adequately express our sadness with his passing,” the family’s statement said. “We will continue to honor his legacy by dedicating ourselves to making a difference in the community and throughout our country.”

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Cal Poly's Alex G. Spanos Stadium was converted into a rodeo arena for the 77th annual Poly Royal Rodeo, taking place April 7 and 8, 2017. It's the first time the rodeo has been hosted at the 11,000-seat arena.

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